Carrickfergus Castle Weddings in Northern Ireland
Carrickfergus Castle weddings
Daydreaming about a castle wedding? Looking for creative wedding ideas? The castle at Carrickfergus is ideal as it is in close proximity to Belfast, has the sea as a background and the venue is well kept and in excellent order.
Getting married in Carrickfergus Castle is pretty much a straightforward matter, as Carrickfergus Bride Gill discovered. She has very kindly shared her experience of getting married in Carrickfergus Castle, hoping to help other brides organise their best day!
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Interview
Why did you choose Carrickfergus castle and not any other venue?
Gill: We are both from the vicinity and we wanted to stay local, but personally I wanted a bit more than Carrickfergus Town Hall, so the castle seemed the perfect place. The Banquet Hall of the castle will hold 50 people max so again it was perfect. And ofcourse, we wanted the castle as a background for the photos.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: How to
Who did you contact for booking the venue?
Gill: I rang the castle itself, then rang Carrickfergus Borough Council to make sure I could get a registrar for the same day.
Did you have a wedding coordinator/ events organizer? Who?
Gill: No, my husband and I have both got great families who helped a lot and my friend Emma who helped and advised and listened and kept me sane. Other than that I knew what I wanted which helped a great deal; and slowly it all fell into place.
Was it easy to get the dates you wanted?
Gill: Yes, I had no problem with the date, but then again I had it booked a year and 3 months before !!!! (I was taking no chances)
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Practicalities
Were light refreshments served/allowed?
Gill: Refreshments were allowed, although you must bring, serve and clear away everything yourself. There is a small servery you can use which is included in the hire charge.
Did you have any special requests and if yes, how accommodating the castle management was?
Gill: Yes we had a few guests that would have found it hard getting from the ramp at the front to the Keep, so the management allowed 1 car through the gates to drop off at the Keep and then to return to pick up.
Did you have a wedding rehearsal? When?
Gill: Not a proper rehearsal, although I rounded the bridal party together and the day before we had a wee look around the room. I had a wee piece of music on my phone for the bridal procession and we had our own rehearsal. The men got familiar with their spot and the same with the girls. Our friend Andrew came along too, to check out the photo settings. It was nothing formal but it just meant we had an idea of what was happening.
Did you have the castle exclusively for yourselves or other visitors were allowed to roam around and peek inside the Banquet Hall?
Gill: Visitors have access to all parts of the Carrickfergus castle, but we had no problems at all. Nobody entered the room during the service; visitors in the grounds were very well-wishing and kept out of your way. I guess it is a wee bonus to see a wedding - everybody loves a wedding!
Was there adequate parking for your guests? Where?
Gill: There is a big car park (Harbour Car Park) a stone’s throw from the castle which is great. It is beside the Carrickfergus castle so you don’t have to worry about crossing the Marine Highway.
Was there a private space to fix your hair/makeup before the actual wedding?
Gill: I didn’t, but maybe the servery could be used for a wee touch up.
Were 4 hours adequate?
Gill: Yes, plenty. Our wedding was at 1:00pm so I had booked the Banquet Hall from 11:30am so our friend could get down and arrange the benches and get home to get ready.
It also meant that guests could come that wee bit earlier and there was no pressure to get up the stairs, I had a CD put on as background music so the room wasn’t bare for the guests arriving.
The men arrived around 12:15pm, they got some photos taken and then headed to the room, and I arrived around 1:00pm (slightly late). The service took around 45mins. Then we went out for more photos and away we were… So yes, the time allowed was perfect for us.
Are children allowed/did you choose to have children present?Gill: Yes, children are allowed, the management urge for supervision. We had children at our wedding, my flower-girls, my step-son and a few of the guests where children.
How did you feel about the limitation on the guest number to 50?
Gill: We had no problem with the numbers it suited us perfect, I understand this will not suit everybody.
Is there traffic usually on the road to Carrickfergus castle?
Gill: Yes, there would be some traffic, but it’s nothing to worry about as its just of the Marine Highway and traffic moves at a steady pace.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Limited Wheelchair Access
Did you have to climb stairs/ are there provisions for wheelchair access?
Gill: No wheelchair access is available in the Keep, so I’m afraid everybody has to go up the stairs.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Looking back
How did your guests feel? Did they like it?
Gill: Yes, all of our guests enjoyed themselves. We enjoyed beautiful weather, which meant the guest could roam round the castle and enjoy it in the sunshine. The service was lovely! Everybody had plenty of space and the room was nicely filled.
How happy are you with the castle management and the way the wedding went?
Gill: You are on your own, once you pay the money the rest is up to you. They were helpful with our little requests: Our friend Andrew had asked for the key of the stocks to stick Lee’s head in for a photo. A member of staff met my dad and myself to open the door, but other than that you don’t see staff hovering around.
What was the best thing about getting married in Carrickfergus castle?
Gill: We loved the setting, it was great for photos. It was something a little different for our guests. It was pretty informal so we were relaxed (well, our guests were, I am not too sure about Lee and myself!) and the sunshine made it all the better.
If you were to do something different, what would that be?
Gill: Looking back I cant think of anything I would change. Lee and I had a wonderful day which was spent with friends and family. I’m sure everybody has slight hiccups but overall, no, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Advice
Any advice to the brides-to-be?
Gill: I remember when Lee and I got engaged and set a date for the wedding. I thought that the wedding day is never going to come around!
But the last week disappearing somewhere and I was worried frantically about things that where beyond my control, like rain, cars coming on time, people slipping going up the ramp, Lee being able to get ready (all by himself) etc,etc.
The morning of my wedding was a whirlwind it went so fast, the whole day went very fast. My advice would be to enjoy every minute, take it all in and relax. Oh and keep those hankies at the ready you might need them for those tears of happiness!
Gill, thank you so much for sharing the details of your fabulous Carrickfergus Castle Wedding with our readers! You were a radiant bride and Lee was a splendid groom! Our best wishes as you continue the life journey as a couple!
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: How to arrange your Wedding:
First you need to Hire the Venue
You can have the banquet hall to yourself and your guests for 4 hours within opening hours only.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Banquet Hall
The Banquet Hall is a large room situated on second floor of the main building (the Keep). Beautifully preserved with its high ceiling and white washed walls, it has all the charm of its olden days. The wooden floor and colourful hanging tapestries gives it a homely warm, while the electric torches is an essential touch..
Three windows gives you a great vista of Belfast Lough and let plenty of natural light in. At the far end of the room is situated a table with brightly coloured comfortable cushion seats and chairs. The Banquet Hall is fitted with power points and heating this is makes it ideal for even a winter wedding.
In a great summer day you could easily set up a marquee at the inner Courtyard. This is the oldest part of the castle where you can meet John de Courcy. Half the Inner Courtyard is paved and half is a luscious lawn. Should you need power points, you can access them via a cable extension to the public toilets nearby.
The castle is not suitable for big weddings. The maximum number of persons is 50 persons including the bridal party.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Wedding Photographs
Even if you don't want to tie the knot inside the castle, nothing stops you to just take the wedding photographs inside its ancient walls.
The bridal party, up to a maximum of 15 persons, can access the castle for a period of 2 hours during opening hours.
Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: Important points
No alcohol or smoking is allowed at the castle grounds. Your guests should go outside should they wish to smoke or consume alcohol.
Designate, designate, designate:
- Designate a person to set up the room benches and tables to their original place after the wedding. If you don’t, you risk having your deposit of 50 pounds not refunded.
- Designate a responsible person to handle any issues between the castle management and the bridal party. It might be a good idea to give their telephone number along with yours when you make the reservation. This way, if there are any issues after the wedding, the castle management can call your friend instead of you. No bride should hear complains the day after the wedding!
- Designate friends to remind the guests not to throw any wedding confetti until you are out of the castle. You are responsible for cleaning up after yourself, and that includes wedding confetti. You wouldn’t like to have to chase confetti all over the castle grounds!
In 2008 they were 36 Carrickfergus castle weddings booked at the castle. So, we hope we have given you some unique wedding ideas.
It is advisable to book early to get the dates you want! Please contact the Castle Management at : +44 (0) 28 9335 1273.
The castle is open all year round at the following times:
Mon - Sat 10am - 4pm
Sun - 2pm - 4pm
April / May / September
Mon - Sat 10am - 6pm
Sun - 2pm - 6pm
June / July / August
Mon - Sat 10am - 6pm
Sun - 12pm - 6pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Now that you know all about the Carrickfergus Castle Weddings, shouldn't you know the Carrickfergus Castle History?
Photo credits: Photo no. 3 courtesy of M&B Photography. All other photos courtesy of Abbey Photography
Did you get married in Carrickfergus Castle? What's your story?
If you are planning your wedding at Carrickfergus castle, I hope you found the above useful. Do drop us a line!
Did you have your wedding in Carrickfergus Castle? We would love, love! to hear your story!
Hey, post a photo of your big day too!
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